Penguins At PPG Paints Arena For A Pair of Weekend Games

The NHL preseason continues with the Penguins hosting Columbus and Detroit

Shelby Cassesse
September 21, 2018 - 2:22 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

CRANBERRY (93.7 The Fan) - Penguins stars should see some ice time this weekend at PPG Paints Arena as the team reaches the midway point of their preseason schedule with games against Columbus and Detroit. 

Only a handful of Penguins expected to be on the NHL roster have played in a preseason game so far, but only four games remain before the season opener against Washington.

Head coach Mike Sullivan, back at practice Friday following the death of his father, said they are fully into regular season preparation mode as it pertains to who will get playing time this weekend.

"We don't have a lot of practices between now and the opener, and so we're trying to maximize every opportunity to try to make sure that we work on the things we need to work on that give us the best chance to be most ready for game one."

The team has been in training camp for a week reacclimating to the schedule and building chemistry, and most would say it takes a few days to get into regular season shape. 

Evgeni Malkin admitted to having some jitters ahead of playing in a game this weekend.

"You know what? I'm so nervous. I know I'll play a long game tomorrow and I'm excited for sure, and still a little bit nervous. When you [don't] play a long time, it's not easy to be back."

Practice is valuable, but for guys like Sidney Crosby, it's important to play against another team and get used to taking hits again.

"I think it's just good to get in games and get your timing and get that feel for taking a hit, giving a hit," he said after Friday's practice. "Everything, you know, special teams, all that stuff, so it's just good to get your timing and get into game mode."

For one Penguin in particular, it will be a bit of a homecoming. After spending a season away from Pittsburgh with Minnesota, Matt Cullen was signed in the offseason to come back to Pittsburgh. When he plays this weekend, it will be his first game back in a Penguins uniform since winning the Stanley Cup in 2017. 

"It'll be fun. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the ice. I haven't been down to PPG Arena yet, so I'm looking forward to getting down there and getting on the ice, getting going. As much as practice is good to get back in the swing of things, you don't really get your feet underneath you until you get in a few games."

The puck drops at 3 p.m. for both games at PPG Paints Arena this weekend. The Penguins host Columbus Saturday, then Detroit on Sunday. Sunday's game is free for kids.